In the heart of the city, the Al Ain Oasis has been opened as the UAE’s first curated UNESCO World Heritage site visitor experience. Spread over 1,200 hectares (nearly 3,000 acres) and containing more than 147,000 date palms of up to 100 different varieties, this impressive oasis is filled with palm plantations, many of which are still working farms.
The cool, shady walkways transport you from the heat and noise of the city to a tranquil haven; all you will hear is birdsong and the rustle of the palm fronds. The site introduces visitors to the delicate oasis eco-system and the importance it has played in the development of the emirate. The oasis landscape of Al Ain is shaped by a complex shared water supply based on both wells and ‘aflaj’, the UAE’s traditional irrigation system. Al Ain Oasis has plenty of working examples of the falaj which have been used for centuries to tap into underground wells.
Narrating the components of Al Ain’s UNESCO World Heritage site, a purpose-built Eco-Centre experience at the oasis entrance provides an overview of the significance of the site and its importance to Abu Dhabi’s civilisation. Through a series of fascinating and immersive interactive exhibits, the Eco-Centre highlights the measures being taken to preserve the delicate oasis ecosystem. The site also sows the seeds of the invaluable contribution of Al Ain’s oasis farmers into the minds of visitors through a continued showcase of traditional farming methods and produce, and the development of a year round programme of festivals, events, and interactive activities.
There is a dedicated Al Ain Oasis mobile app and visitor map (click here to download), narrated trails criss-cross the interior paths of the oasis, guiding and informing all the while through fascinating interpretive panels. The site also features a number of food and beverage outlets, cultural retailers, plenty of free parking and connectivity to neighbouring visitor sites, including the Al Ain Palace and Al Ain National Museums.
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